The Role of Digestion in Healing

Chiropractor and Acupuncturist Chapel Hill, NC

One defines ‘digestion’ as a person’s capacity to break down food into substances the body can use. At Acupractic Natural Healing Center, Dr. Oskardmay asks each patient about their digestion because it impacts their healing and ability to heal in vital ways. When one’s digestion is good, everything else can improve. What one chooses to eat is essential, but how the body deals with food eaten is also important. Read more to learn about the role of digestion in healing.

Indigestion problems such as gas, bloating, constipation, and diarrhea are symptoms the digestive system isn’t up to par. Food eaten may pass through the alimentary canal undigested, allowing vital nutrients to escape. Nutritional imbalances can impair glucose control, inflammation, muscle and joint pain, hormonal imbalance, brain fog, impaired immune response, and other disorders. Alternative medicine treatment for digestive disorders is multifaceted because the problem impairs so many things.

At our office, Dr. Oskardmay asks patients what and when they eat, what they drink, how they move, and what activities they do throughout the day. Food and beverage choices, timing of eating, and even the temperature of food and beverages can all influence the stomach and small and large intestines. Too much cold food and sugar dampen the actions of the earth’s channels – the spleen and stomach, where digestion is prevalent. Dampness and stagnation can result in weight gain, bloating, and other digestive disturbances.

It is essential patients inform us what medications they take because many drugs can affect digestive health in destructive ways. Antibiotics, in particular, kill off necessary good gut bacteria and create a hostile gut microbiome. Food choice and supplements are crucial to restore gut flora in this situation. Medications for gastroesophageal reflux disorder (GERD), such as TUMS and Prilosec, reduce stomach acid, which decreases the stomach’s ability to break down certain foods. We help patients explore other options and learn how their medications might impact their digestive health.

Dr. Oskardmay applies chiropractic adjustments to the spine to support nerve flow from regions affecting digestive health. Nerves arising in the cervical thoracic and lumbar spine all impact digestive health in some way. When subluxations exist, we see altered nerve flow, muscle tightness and instability, and pain and irritation. She corrects spinal misalignment to improve posture and increase patients’ ability to move with less pain throughout the day, which also improves blood flow and aids digestion.

Acupuncture is an additional means through which we help patients digest food better. Dr. Oskardmay, a licensed acupuncturist, chooses which channels and points to use for each patient to help them naturally feel better. Soothing treatments to restore qi flow in the stomach, small intestine, and large intestine channels help to quell indigestion.

For more information about the role of digestion in healing or to make an appointment, contact the acupuncture and chiropractic offices of Dr. Lisa Oskardmay in Chapel Hill today at (919) 929-1400, email us at or visit our website at



Upper Cross Syndrome, Neck and Shoulder Arm Pain

Chiropractor and Acupuncturist Chapel Hill, NC

Many people experience pain in their neck, shoulders, and upper back. The cause of this pain may be a syndrome known as Upper Cross Syndrome. In Upper Cross Syndrome, weak muscles of the mid and upper back cause tightness in the pectoral and neck muscles. Pain and tightness across the upper body, neck, and shoulder regions result in reduced range of motion, stiffness, and neck achiness. At Acupractic Natural Healing Center, the chiropractic and acupuncture offices of Dr. Lisa Oskardmay, we help patients experiencing Upper Cross syndrome and other conditions using various natural healing methods, including chiropractic adjustments and acupuncture, massage, and other physical modalities.

The serratus and trapezius muscles cover much of the upper back. The serratus anterior muscle (so-called for its serrated knife appearance) originates at the upper nine ribs and attaches to the medial edge of the underside of the scapula. This muscle stabilizes the scapula, allowing boxers to punch and yoga practitioners to do plank exercises and other movements. Innervation for this vital muscle comes from the long thoracic nerve (C5-7), a branch of the brachial plexus. When a person experiences subluxation inflammation in the lower part of the neck where these nerves arise, it may affect the brachial plexus and these muscles.

The trapezius muscle is a back muscle that originates in the head and neck and covers the shoulders and part of the back. This large muscle stabilizes posture and moves and lifts the shoulders. Motor innervation to this vital muscle of postural stabilization and shoulder and neck movement comes from a cranial nerve called the spinal accessory nerve.

Weakness in the trapezius and serratus muscles happens from disuse or misuse of the muscles. Misuse of the muscles can occur when a person doesn’t stretch before exercise or uses the muscle beyond its capacity or for too long. Causes of weakness include inadequate muscle exercise, muscle trigger points, general body tightness, and improper nerve flow to the muscles. Improper nerve flow can result from poor spinal alignment, subluxation, and other factors. These can result in upper cross syndrome and tight neck and pectoral muscles.

As a licensed chiropractor, Dr. Oskardmay can help patients understand and heal the cause of their neck, upper back, and shoulder pain and tightness. She can mobilize specific vertebral segments associated with nerve and muscle flow to the involved head, neck, and shoulder areas using chiropractic adjustments. Additionally, massage, acupuncture, and other physical modalities and treatments help improve neck, back, and shoulder pain caused by upper cross syndrome. Call today at (919) 929-1400, email us at or visit our website at to schedule your appointment any time and learn more.

The Value of Pain

Chiropractor and Acupuncturist Chapel Hill, NC

Pain is a sensation we have but do not enjoy. We strive to avoid pain, and therein lies its value-pain helps us avoid damaging and hurtful activities, thoughts, food, and other stimuli. We have modern-day tools to reduce pain, but sometimes these products and medications can leave us worse off than we were before. Striving to get the message pain is sending while reducing pain can be tricky. At Acupractic Natural Healing Center in Chapel Hill, the chiropractic and acupuncture offices of Dr. Lisa Oskardmay, we strive to help patients reduce pain naturally without drugs or surgery. Read more about the value of pain.

Some diseases block pain signals from reaching the brain, resulting in body damage and unnecessary wear and tear. Diabetes, for instance, can result in numbness in the feet, especially; untreated blood sugar control is a leading cause of amputation due to minor injuries left unattended. Strokes, caused by lack of blood flow to brain regions, can also result in numbness or lack of feeling in body areas. Having a numb limb or other body area can lead to other problems, such as falling or not noticing an injury, infection, or soreness. A total lack of pain sensation is not a desirable goal for most people.

Some people avoid pain by using drugs and other treatments that block the pain signal from reaching their brains. Acetaminophen (Tylenol) and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as aspirin, Aleve, and Motrin are over-the-counter pain-relieving medications that help to reduce pain. Opiates are commonly prescribed medicines that block pain signals from reaching the brain; similar to heroin and other street drugs, opiates are highly addictive. Opiates, as well as OTC pain-blocking drugs, also have serious side effects. One of these side effects is the ability to overuse injured areas and ignore the pain signals. Overuse of damaged areas can impede overall body healing and have serious repercussions locally and in distant regions of the body.

There are times when pain-blocking medication is a Godsend; unnecessary pain or discomfort out of proportion to the risk of injury inhibits well-being in many ways. For instance, some diseases cause too many pain signals to get to our brains. An example is Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, in which even mild touch with no risk of injury causes great pain. Nonetheless, long-term use of pain medications may not be desirable even in this situation.

At Acupractic Natural Healing Center, Dr. Oskardmay helps patients feel better naturally using alternative medicine methods, including chiropractic, acupuncture, exercise, and nutrition education, to improve healing and reduce pain. Call today at (919) 929-1400 or visit us on the web at anytime to learn more about what complementary and holistic medicine can do for you.

The Function of Being Hopeful

Hope is a powerful healing tool. Optimism and hope allow a person to see an open doorway to feeling better to achieve life’s goals. Hope and optimism enable people to look up, rather than down, at their life’s path and journey. Hope is crucial to healing. Many individuals, groups, and facilities recognize the benefit of hope and optimism for helping people feel and function better. At Acupractic Natural Healing Center, Dr. Lisa Oskardmay provides education and information during treatment to help people see the potential of natural healing methods to raise their hope and optimism.

According to the Veterans’ Association, Hope and Optimism are components of a `Whole Health` approach to health care. This approach empowers and enables individuals to take charge of their health and well-being as they live their lives to the fullest. Hope is about leaving room for something good to happen. When one has no hope, there is no room for optimism or healing.

Numerous studies show the link between being hopeful and being connected to one’s community, better relationships, and better life outcomes. Research suggests that encouraging people have a better chance of fighting ailments such as diabetes and anxiety, and depression. Optimism may not cure any condition, but being hopeful and recognizing the potential for a better outcome helps reduce stress with significant physiologic benefits.

For instance, lowering the stress hormone cortisol helps reduce inflammation, a significant culprit in pain and degeneration. Additionally, since elevated cortisol levels are connected with weight gain and foggy-headedness, reducing this hormone can help one maintain a healthy BMI and think more clearly.

Belief and expectation are the key elements of hope. Believing and expecting positive change can help to unlock the brain’s release of natural painkillers- endorphins and enkephalins. Like morphine, these natural brain chemicals influence positive respiration, motor function, and circulation changes. When we feel good, we function well, and we look good. Hope and reasonably high expectations for good outcomes help to influence our mood, appearance, and well-being.

So, how does one achieve high hopes and optimism? Well, hopeful people laugh and smile more than brightly. Consider turning off shows that are depressing and focusing on more uplifting input. Also, folks who eat balanced diets, including more fruits and vegetables, appear more hopeful. Talk with a nutritionist to learn new eating methods if your diet needs to be healthier. Research shows that vagus nerve stimulation can help reduce stress by increasing parasympathetic nerve input. People who use abdominal breathing, alternate hot and cold, and other practices support this polyvagal approach. Dr. Lisa uses auriculotherapy to stimulate the vagus nerve, as well.

There are many low-cost, beneficial ways to gain the benefits of a hopeful, optimistic outlook. Reflect on the possibilities. Call our office today at (919) 929-1400, email us at or schedule online at to see how chiropractic, acupuncture, and other natural healing methods can help you look and feel better.

Natural Care for Scoliosis

About 7 million Americans have scoliosis, a condition of unknown origin in which the spine is rotated or twisted sideways. While most people who have this incurable condition lead everyday lives, scoliosis can progress to the point where, in some, daily activities, exercise, and even breathing can be more difficult if spinal rotation advances to the end of lung compression. No one knows what causes this relatively common condition, although there may be a hereditary component. Physical and neurological exams, X-rays, and MRIs help identify these contributing factors. Spinal pain, back pain, and neck pain are relatively common in persons with the extra curvature seen in scoliosis, and alternative medicine can provide some relief. However, no treatment has been shown to prevent, cure, or fix scoliosis completely. Read more to learn about natural care for scoliosis.

With scoliosis, adding an extra curve to the ordinarily straight (from the front or back) spine adds degrees of rotation and spinal friction between vertebral joints. Depending on the degree of added curvature and other factors, fluid movement may suffer as inflammation builds up between spinal segments. Trigger points in attached muscles can occur, and connected ligaments and tendons suffer, often resulting in backache and weakness if the condition is left untreated. Spinal erosion and bone spurs that can arise will cause pain and reduced range of motion over time.

In young children whose curvature progresses rapidly and threatens internal organs, the medical profession often applies braces or rods to halt the progression until the child reaches full height. Otherwise, very few medical treatments are available, and many people receive little guidance related to their scoliosis diagnosis. Patients beyond adolescence often wonder if scoliosis is the cause of their back pain, headaches, and other body symptoms. Still, regular X-ray evaluation is ill-advised for most people, and many do not understand the condition’s progression over time.

At Acupractic Natural Healing Center, Dr. Oskardmay helps patients with scoliosis with a combination of natural therapies designed to identify and balance affected segments to reduce some of the stress imposed by scoliosis.

At our office, Dr. Oskardmay uses physical exams and spinal palpation to detect early spinal inflammation to direct balanced treatment. She evaluates posture and muscle strength, dermatomal balance, and other aspects of nerve integrity along the spinal cord to detect areas of inflammation and irritation. She applies chiropractic spinal mobilization, massage, and acupuncture to soothe pain and restore kinetic integrity where possible. While treatment will not remove the extra spinal curvature, it does help to mitigate side effects.

If you or your loved one has questions about natural chiropractic and acupuncture care for scoliosis, please get in touch with our office today. Call us today at (919) 929-1400, email us at or visit our website at Serving the Triangle since 1995 with effective holistic healthcare, the chiropractic and acupuncture offices of Dr. Lisa Oskardmay are here for you in Chapel Hill, just off i-40 and across from Wegmans in Eastowne Professional Offices. We participate with BCBS, United Healthcare, Medicare, Aetna, Cigna, and Federal BCBS and submit claims on your behalf. We provide ample free handicapped accessible parking in front of our building. At Acupractic, we take the stress out of getting the care you need.

How Relaxation Heals the Body and Mind

At Acupractic Natural Healing Center, Dr. Oskardmay frequently advises patients to relax while receiving treatment. Relaxation benefits the healing response in many ways and is central to the goals of some treatments at our office. People have questions about the topic of relaxation that we discuss in this blog post. Read more to learn how relaxation heals the body and mind.

According to Webster’s Dictionary, relaxation means to ‘meditate or focus on calmness. ‘In a world filled with anxiety, rushing about, and stress, the experience of peace can bring needed change. The act of relaxation allows individuals to let go of stress which is crucial because the stress response is harmful. Realizing the benefits of letting go of focus is the first step in undertaking the steps necessary to relax.

Each of us relaxes in our way, and each person needs to know how to achieve inner peace. Some people relax through sitting and meditating, others through reading or walking, others yet by singing or chanting or listening to music. Some people achieve calm in the presence of their pets, others while bathing in scented Epsom salts. There are many different ways to relax. Whether you refer to it as relaxing, meditating, zoning out, chilling, praying, or something else, knowing what brings you peace is essential.

People have asked if they need to be religious to pray or meditate to relax. The answer is No. Calm thinking, meditating on favorable aspects, and praying for peacefulness are available to each person regardless of their belief system and have nothing to do with religion. People of all walks of life can achieve calm.

At our chiropractic and acupuncture office, Dr. Oskardmay counsels patients to focus on breathing when it is time to relax. Doing so gives the mind something to do, which allows the so-called ‘monkey mind’ to change.

We generally relax while asleep, but nighttime and sleep are not the only times when calm relaxation benefits us. When we are calm and relaxed, the parasympathetic aspect of our nervous system comes to the forefront. The flow of blood increases around our body, providing more vital energy. Achieving a calm state reduces blood pressure and heart rate, which relieves tension in the whole body and mind. We can think more clearly, which aids positive thinking, memory and decision making, and concentration.

At our office, people frequently enter a deep state of relaxation during treatment, similar to sleep. Natural healing techniques in our office enhance balance in the body systems and body awareness- nervous, circulatory, and endocrine systems benefit from alternative medicine and the relaxation response it fosters and emphasizes. Following treatment, whether with chiropractic or acupuncture, patients who have come to us for back pain, headaches, neck and shoulder tightness, and discomfort generally report improved wellbeing following a treatment. Dr. Oskardmay counsels patients to strive to continue to use calm for a few hours after their visit to support their well-being. Whether you relax, pray, meditate, do yoga, walk in nature or something else, accept the relaxation response as a benefit.

Call our office at  (919) 929-1400 to learn more about how relaxation heals the body and mind or to schedule your appointment today visit us any time on the web:

Cupping for Colds and Flu

Cupping is an ancient Chinese therapy that many people have heard of in conjunction with the Olympics as a treatment for muscle aches. Were you also aware that cupping can be an effective treatment for cold and flu symptoms? That’s because cupping relieves congestion in the body and stimulates movement of energy to restore and heal. Cupping deep tissue massage improves blood flow and helps to detoxify the area cupped and connected regions.
What is cupping?
Cupping utilizes silicon or glass shaped `cups` under which vacuum is created via suction or oxygen consumption. When placed on the skin and slid across trigger points and knots, cupping is an unparalleled example of transverse friction massage combined with skin lifting technique. Common areas of application for persons suffering from congestion, colds and flu include the midback between the shoulder blades, the upper back and shoulders, and lower back just below the ribs around the diaphragm. Stimulation of these areas with cupping reduces muscle spasm and helps with respiration and lymph flow. Following cupping you ill experience redness and warming to the area cupped as blood flow is increased and the skin and underlying muscles are rubbed with friction.
Essential oils and ointments can be applied on the skin surface prior to cupping. Oils such as eucalyptus, lavender and frankincense are anti-inflammatory, warming and pain relieving. These and other oils aid in circulation and naturally support the immune system. Other oil choices can include: oregano, rosemary, tea tree, lemon, lemongrass, peppermint, cinnamon, clove bud, grapefruit, sandalwood, basil, juniper berry, thyme, sage, ginger, cypress, and pine. A few drops of each essential oil can be added to a carrier neutral oil and massaged into the skin. Cupping performs gentle exfoliation and blood flow stimulation which helps the oil absorb while also helping to `exteriorize` toxins and reduce stagnation in general.
Persistent cupping marks that stay on the body post-cupping can be unsightly and undesirable to some. These can be avoided by moving the cups around and reducing the amount of time the cup is left in one place. Discuss this and other treatment goals with your practitioner prior to treatment. Also, some people may be concerned with the use of hot glass cups and the potential for burning of the skin. Many practitioners use unheated silicon cups today to avoid that concern.
You may receive cupping therapy as part of a holistic treatment regimen for cold and flu that also includes acupuncture treatment or the chiropractic adjustment, or all three together. These alternative medicine remedies for cold and flu are very effective for improving overall health and the body’s ability to heal itself naturally. Acupuncture meridian therapy improves metal yin (lung) and water yin (kidney) energy flow to heal the lungs and reduce stress in the body overall. Chiropractic adjustments to the neck and back improve nerve flow to vital organs such as the lungs and heart, and increase respiratory motion under the ribs and reduce congestion in the chest. Cupping works well with these treatments.
Following cupping therapy for colds and flu, keep the cupped area covered for 24 hours to avoid cold and wind exposure of the cupped area. If possible, try to retain warmth and rest for several hours to allow the treatment to take its full effect.
When you aren’t feeling well, contact your acupuncture and chiropractor provider to see if cupping can help you. It can improve your health and well-being on many levels.

Acupuncture for Back Pain- How Does it Work?

Acupuncture stimulates the brain’s DMN to heal the body mind.
Acupuncture for chronic back pain—how does it work?
Acupuncture has been shown to be an effective treatment for various types of back pain, yet scientists have struggled for many years to understand how it works. Recent research in the BMJ Journal ( demonstrates a potential mechanism that has eluded researchers. This creates an understanding of how acupuncture treatment can affect many conditions including: chronic back pain, migraines, fibromyalgia, and diabetic neuropathy.
The research utilized functional MRI brain scans of healthy and chronic back pain sufferers. These scans demonstrate altered and reduced connectivity in an important brain pathway called DMN (default mode network) in the chronic back pain sufferers. DMN represents our brain’s default mode when we are awake but restful, as in meditation or daydreaming. Reduced connectivity in this important pain modulation pathway may indicate that some people may not be able to fully access the relaxation and healing response the DMN is thought to provide. Thirty minutes of acupuncture with intermittent de qi needle stimulation was shown to increase DMN connectivity in parts of the brain associated with pain modulation. This suggests a possible mechanism of action for chronic back pain sufferers who experience pain relief using acupuncture. The connection between what helps us relax and what helps us heal is very real and this new research helps us understand that connection a bit more.
This research is exciting because it helps us understand and explain how a drugless, nonsurgical treatment such as acupuncture can help reduce suffering for so many people.
Call our office today to see how acupuncture can help you reduce back pain or migraine pain.
(919) 929-1400 24- hour online scheduling
Acupractic Natural Healing Center, 800 Eastowne Dr. Suite 103, Chapel Hill, NC 27514
The acupuncture and chiropractic offices of Dr. Lisa Oskardmay

Storms Affect Arthritis

How does weather affect pain levels?  Many people say that they can tell when a storm is coming on because their arthritis flares up. Studies show that a 10 degree drop in temperature creates a commensurate increase in pain levels. A drop in barometric pressure makes people more physically uncomfortable. When it rains or humidity levels are high people also experience more pain. Arthritis can feel worse around the time a storm is brewing because factors that disturb the weather outside also increase inflammation in your body. Cold constricts already damaged joint surfaces causing more friction, humidity causes more swelling of already swollen areas and decreased barometric pressure irritates joints and muscles.

Arthritis is defined as painful inflammation and stiffness of the joints. A rheumatic condition, arthritis is associated with many things:  heredity and genetics, viruses, wear and tear, diet, immune system function, and stress. Joints affected may be widespread or limited to specific areas such as the hands, hips, feet, or back. Blood test markers such as ESR (erythrocyte sedimentation rate) or CRP (C reactive protein) to measure inflammation will be elevated in arthritis. While stormy weather may make you want to stay in bed and eat comfort food, this may not be the best approach to reduce pain and inflammation.

When pain intrudes it is important to remember to move your body to reduce stagnation of systems that heal you. Prepare in advance to include a bit of movement in your daily plan on stormy days. This can include walking around the house, attending to chores, or venturing outside if weather permits. Movement will mobilize tissues, detoxify, and warm the body.

If cold worsens pain, try to stay warm. Wear warm clothes and socks and shoes in cold environments. If you can get to one, an infrared sauna can be very healing. A warm Epsom salt bath can deep heat your muscles, joints, and bones to reduce arthritis pain. Warmth will reduce cold in the body and help to detoxify.

When the weather is bad, eating well can improve your mood and mental state and reduce pain. To reduce inflammation, try to eat more naturally occurring fruits and vegetables which will provide you with lots of fiber and vitamin C and A to heal your joints and reduce swelling. Drink warm tea to reduce inflammation and warm the interior.  Increase the consumption of healthy proteins and fats, especially Omega 3 rich fish and flax oil to help improve the inflammation fighting Omega3:Omega 6 ratio.

As always, it is a good idea to drink adequate water throughout the day. Drink water rather than sodas, fruit juices, or alcohol to keep arthritis pain levels down. Especially avoid artificially sweetened beverages using aspartame as these increase inflammation in the body. Stevia is a better choice for non-sugar sweetener.

Chiropractic adjustments to the spine and extremities can help reduce pain and inflammation and acupuncture treatments to the meridians and channels of the body are supportive therapies if you need additional help. These healing treatments can keep arthritis flare ups at bay for the long run.

While preparing for stormy weather keep these tips in mind to help you survive any weather related event. Arthritis may help you predict an oncoming storm, but it doesn’t have to incapacitate you.


Electro acupuncture shown to stimulate stem cell production and release in the body.

Stem cell therapy is a fairly new, but increasingly widely used medical treatment for many conditions. Promise using stem cell injections has been shown for rotator cuff repair, knee tendonitis, Parkinsonism and even Type 1 diabetes.  Stem cells derived from the recipient’s own body or another source are injected into specific regions to promote tissue regrowth and repair- stem cells then attach and rebuild missing or damaged tissue. While not FDA approved, the treatment holds promise and clinics are moving forward to provide such treatments. Nonethless, there are dangers and risks associated with this new treatment.

The human body utilizes stem cells naturally to heal itself in virtually every organ, muscle, ligament is contains. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could increase our own healing response internally using stem cells our body already makes?

In the NIH grant funded medical journal Stem Cells Journal (May 2017) (, its authors show that electro-acupuncture applied to specific points in the body stimulates significant release of stem cells by action of the hypothalamus. Release of stem cells may provide another reason why acupuncture treatment helps improve healing for such conditions as arthritis and asthma.  With the production of stem cells occuring in ones own body, this may obviate the need for harvesting and injection of stem cells back onto the body, a costly and potentially more dangerous route than allowing the body to use its own resources, stimulated by electroacupuncture.

People who receive acupuncture frequently experience healing on several levels. Stimulation of pluripotent stem cells may be one mechanism of action.


Serving the communities of Chapel Hill, Carrboro, Durham, Hillsborough, and the rest of the NC Triangle

205 Providence Rd. Chapel Hill NC 27514 | Phone: (919) 929-1400

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